Hundreds of armed attackers stormed Tahrir Square in Cairo, trying to drive protesters out, causing mass chaos.
A R A B I C A ارابيكا
By Kristen Gillespie
STORMING FREEDOM SQUARE
*Hundreds of armed attackers stormed Tahrir Square in Cairo, trying to drive protesters out, causing mass chaos. Grainy footage of the attackers is here and here. One commenter summed it up: "reports indicate that those in the square are thugs paid by the state security apparatus."
DIGGING DIRT 1
*The omnipotent state security has good reason to be concerned about the activities of protesters. Thousands of confidential documents taken from buildings around the country have been uploaded and posted online. One example is this internal memo from 2009 detailing the arrest of suspects believed to be involved in extremist Islamist activities. "A group of people was arrested to determine whether they are participating in extremist activities," the memo noted. What state security called "discussions," are suspected of moving along with physical coercion. The letter goes on to list suspects by name – for example, detainee Magdy al-Deeb. Birthday, educational background, place of employment and dates of previous detentions (on the same charges) are included.
DIGGING DIRT 2
*A Yemeni opposition website reports that young people organizing protests in Sana'a have compiled a black list of names of officials accused of acts of murder and incitement against peaceful demonstrators across the country. At the top of the list? Ahmed Saleh, commander of the Republican Guard and brother of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who refuses to step down until his term ends in 2013. The article reports that "the young people vow to hold sit-ins and protest until the regime falls."
EMIRATES FIRST RUMBLING
*A group of 133 activists submitted a petition to the president of the United Arab Emirates asking for free elections and an empowered parliament, the first such stirring of public dissent in the seven emirates. While praising President Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan and the UAE leadership's "perfect harmony" with the people, the petitioners observed that "participation in decision-making is part of the tradition and customs of this country." The signatories noted that "regional and international events requires developing the process of national participation." The UAE has an Abu Dhabi-based advisory body called the Federal National Council. The council's 40 members are selected by the government, half of whom are then voted on by the public. The council itself has no binding legal power.
March 9, 2011
photo credit: illustir